The Ref’s Oath

There are many referees in the media world.

You, a reader, have become one of them.

The reasons for you reading this article are plenty, but all by the motive of one of these two things: either you are reading to understand the television world that you are a part of daily and want to see another person’s opinion to get you interested in talking about these topics around the water coolers; or you are reading to criticize what I want to say about the media world, argue against my views, and catch loopholes in my writing to comment to your water cooler friends how incorrect I am.

Unfortunately, I get the latter way more than I get the former.

But thus is the duty of the referee. However, I’m not a typical referee. Typical refs show up in front of your eyes, your TV screens, in zebra attire to regulate how a game should be played. These rules are what make the job easy. It’s the subjectivity, the bias fan bases, and the media world itself that makes the job hard. Every call is challenged by fans, even if its blatant. Opposing coaches fight for their players, trying to convince refs that the call was unfair. The league defend the referees because they are the face of the league. However, the league hides in the shadows of new regulations, fines, collective bargaining (for those who don’t understand sports, it’s the very thing thats making the NFL lockout its players right now) as the referees are whom the fans shout at. It’s not until a team does something financially wrong when the league intervenes. But that’s not the job of the refs. The corporation regulate the money. The referees regulate the game.

However, as I said before, I’m a different kind of referee. I’m the sort of ref that doesn’t have games. I have television shows. I’m not the sort of ref that only speaks when there’s a foul or a “breaking-of-rules”. I speak out about everything, both loudly and softly. I’m don’t rule a court. I rule a genre, a medium, a way of life.

I regulate television.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. There’s something called the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that does this already. And they’re regulated by the Federal Government. And they’re regulated by the people of the United States of America.

Yes. Democracy.

But the FCC and the national government are more on a “breaking-the-law” basis. But who will stand up against NBC for approving the worst shows in America? Who will make sure ABC stops creating rookie shows that start amazingly and end horribly? Who will make sure that CBS doesn’t spin-off every single show it has just because it’s America’s “Most Watched Network”? Who will try everything possible to find a flaw in FOX as the ratings leader of the key demographic? And lastly, who will try to make CW a better network?

Yeah, Hellcats and Smallville, baby.

My Call: It’s the American people. However, look at the ratings count of the last decades. With DVRs, illegal sites, and the invent of Hulu, ratings have gone down. Plus, with the increase in cable channels, the viewers that once only looked at ABC, NBC, and CBS are now shattered across hundreds of channels. There was a time when everyone watch The Cosby Show, Friends, Seinfeld, M*A*S*H, and Cheers. After an episode, people were flocking to water coolers to conversate about the previous night’s episode. Today, people enjoy those conversations among fewer people. So when it comes to regulating whether The Office or Desperate Housewives are losing its touch, House going on too long, Heroes losing its identity, or Glee being too…well, Glee, there aren’t enough people. Sure, the producers want to make their fans happy, but how about the corporations? When they ax a show, will they care about the 2 million Chuck viewers?

If people were on the same page and knew about what show producer and corporate networks were up to, then perhaps we can recreate the environment television once had. We have social networking, where Twitter and Facebook rule our lives. The Osama Bin Laden death was broken not by news stations, big cable news networks, or even national news operatives. It was Twitter. The news was spread by Twitter and Facebook. By the time it reached CNN‘s desk, over thousands of people already knew about it. By the time Fox News could even verify it, Facebook and Twitter were already in a frenzy. Of course, television news will not, and should not, be equated to news of the nation. But in the same sense, people can join together if they know what’s going on. Information is power. And I’m here to give you that ability.

As the Media TV Ref, i put it upon myself to inform you of what’s going on. Of course, I will have my call (MC) on my twitter page @mediatvref. I will also have this blog to carry on some of my opinions on the game of television. Such as my opinion the schedule of the networks, my take on a couple shows, and trends of the television industry that may or may not be a good call.

My oath to you is that we, the viewers of television, will be informed and opinionated. I support both sides of agreement and argument, if it ultimately leads to the bigger picture: to make television serve us better. Entertain us better. Inform us better. Bring us a fair game as we sacrifice our 30 or 60 minutes of time (23 to 44 minutes on Hulu). The last thing we want is a great game (television) blown by bad plays (bad corportate/production decision).

So, here’s to making television a better entertainer. May we enjoy the game as much as we regulate it.



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